My chemo treatment has a three-week cycle. I have a blood test two days before chemo to check my blood cell count, kidneys & liver functions, and the next day I see the oncologist, who checks the result of my blood test and examines my breast. If there is no problem, I receive chemo on the third day. I was first scheduled to have three cycles of chemo, a surgery in Aug. and then another three cycles of chemo. Yet it has been changed to have six cycles of chemo first and then the surgery in Oct. Anyway I came to the halfway point of chemo yesterday! The side effects of chemo kick in around three days after chemo, and continue for about 4-5 days. I can control nausea and diarrhea by medicines and wristbands sent by a past patient’s father, who is now licensed in acupuncture and shiatsu.
Yet, the most difficult side-effect is the taste change, which interferes with my eating. Though it is recovering gradually as weeks go by, everything I eat tastes like as though they were dipped into paint or oil and they are disgusting. Even though I need to take lots of water to flush out chemo, even some water or green tea also feels hard and I am depending on sugary juices.
Sometimes friends cook Japanese food for me and my sons and George also get my favorite food, but I am still struggling to eat. Losing weight sounds good, but if my healthy cells are also destroyed by chemo, the side effects will become worse. So I have to eat.
The protein is important to build healthy cells. Meat and fish are the primary sources for protein, but, again, a piece of meat tastes horrible and even fish and tofu taste bad if I add condiments. Then an ex-volunteer of Grain of Wheat, Shigeko, who recently had a surgery for squamous cell carcinoma and her father also experienced chemo, recommended me brown rice cream, which has rich nutrition including protein and her father could enjoy eating during his chemo. So this time, I have prepared brown rice, red beans, nuts, soy milk, soups, honey, and watermelon, which has anti-oxidative and diuretic effects. I hope they will work.